Bloomingdale sues Namdar to obtain Stratford Square Mall
Village is aiming to find a partner to redevelop the mostly deserted site
Bloomingdale is gunning to take over Stratford Square Mall from landlord Namdar through eminent domain — a tactic seldom used by local governments to wrest control of such a large commercial asset.
The DuPage County suburb already spent more than $5.6 million to buy former department stores and land near the mostly deserted shopping center, and has now filed a condemnation lawsuit against Great Neck, New York-based Namdar Realty Group, which owns the mall’s interior and the JCPenny box, the Daily Herald reported.
Bloomingdale officials want to find a partner to redevelop the mall, which sits in the center of a 275-acre site. Stratford Square, like many shopping centers across the nation, struggled as online shopping became increasingly popular and the pandemic dealt another blow as consumers stayed home even more often.
The village paid $2.4 million for the vacant Carson’s department store, $2.15 million for the former Burlington building and $1.1 million for a vacant lot east of the mall, which were owned by separate entities. Local officials have grown impatient with Namdar’s lack of urgency to revitalize the site, and village president Franco Coladipietro called the lawsuit an “act of last resort.”
“Simply put, the property is practically a ‘ghost town,'” Coladipeitro wrote. “The continued dilapidation of the property … leads the village to conclude that, while Namdar may possess the financial ability to manage the property, Namdar does not possess the character to make the necessary investment to rebrand the property.”
Namdar is fighting the lawsuit in DuPage County court. The firm acquired the mall’s interior in 2019.
Bloomingdale officials believe it’ll be easier to redevelop the mall if the village owns the entire property. The village expects to reach a purchase agreement with the owner of a Sears building at the mall in the coming month.
In anticipation of a large-scale redevelopment, the village created a tax increment financing district that encompasses the mall, with the exception of the Woodman’s grocery store. The district could offer property tax incentives to a developer that invests into repositioning the property.
Elsewhere in the Chicago metro, West Dundee officials are working to acquire the Spring Hill mall in its entirety, also with plans to lure a developer who wants to revamp the site. West Dundee trustees recently bought the former Sears building on that property for $2 million.
— Quinn Donoghue
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